Keying in the Future
By Jeff Goldman, Tue Dec 18 00:00:00 GMT 2001

As mobile devices grow in functionality, the number of input methods is rapidly increasing.


Back in the 1870s, early typewriters all shared a common problem: hitting two adjacent keys in succession would often cause them to jam. In 1878, Christopher Latham Sholes solved the problem with the QWERTY keyboard, laid out to minimize the sequential use of two adjacent keys when typing a word.

Over a century later, stuck typewriter keys may hardly be an issue for your average RIM BlackBerry, but Sholes' keyboard design is still very much around.

As mobile phones turn into virtual pocket-sized computers, a number of different companies are looking at options beyond both the QWERTY keyboard and the telephone keypad-while others are staying true to the arrangement Sholes developed back in the 19th century.

Trimming taps


The current method of entering text into a phone, known as triple-tapping, involves pushing each key as many as three times before you get the letter you want. However, a number of predictive text input solutions can now reduce the keystrokes necessary to write a word. The popular Jeff Goldman is a freelance writer covering a wide range of topics for a number of online journals. He currently writes regular articles for Internet.com's ISP-Planet. Brought up in Belgium, Jeff spent the last decade in New York, Chicago and London; he now lives in Los Angeles.